The spam came from inside the house: How a smart TV can choke a Windows PC

Image of a girl in silhouette stuck in a television set inside an entertainment center
Enlarge / I have hundreds of UUIDs and I have to scream.

Getty Images

Modern “smart” television asks a lot of us. In exchange for connecting you to a few streaming services you use, a TV will collect data, serve ads, and serve as an additional vector for bad actors. In a few reported cases, however, a modern smart TV has been blamed for attacks not on privacy, eyes, or passwords, but on an entirely different computer.

The TV in question is a Hisense TV and the computer is a Windows PC, specifically one owned by Priscilla Snow, a musician and audio designer in Montreal, Quebec. His post about his Hisense experience reads like a mystery. Of course, since you already know the crime and the culprit, this seems more like a Columbo episode. Either way, it’s thrilling in a very specific kind of thrill, I can’t believe this was fixed.

Disappearance of settings, keyboards, remote desktops and possibly taskbars

Snow’s Windows PC has had “a few issues over the past couple of years,” Snow wrote on April 19. She couldn’t open the display settings, for example. A MIDI keyboard interface has stopped working. The task manager would start to hang until force closed. Video capture cards had trouble connecting. As Snow notes, any veteran of a Windows computer with many items installed can mentally erase most of those items, or at least hide them until the next reinstallation.

Then, while trying to figure out why a remote desktop session wasn’t working, the taskbars on Snow’s PC disappeared. The PC refused to launch settings panels. After updating the drivers and restarting the PC, the taskbars returned, but only for six days. Snow searched for solutions and after using “the exact right string in my search” she found a Reddit thread that led to a Microsoft Support question, describing all the same types of seemingly spectral problems her computer had encountered over time, without any clear answer. cause.

User Narayan B wrote on the Microsoft forum that the problem is because Hisense TV generates “random UUIDs for UPNP network discovery every few minutes.” Windows, apparently not knowing why a device would regularly do this, sees and adds these alternative Hisense devices to its Device Association Framework, or DAF. Since this service is full of interesting devices, it can block Task Manager, Bluetooth, Settings apps, File Explorer, etc.

The fix removes hundreds of registry keys. Narayan B wrote that he had previously noticed his Hisense TV flooding Windows’ device discovery systems, but “didn’t think Windows would go into a toss because of it.” Snow did the same, and everything – Task Manager, the MIDI keyboard, Remote Desktop, even a CRT monitor she thought was broken – started working again.

UUID, UPNP, DAF and hundreds of registry keys

In addition to deleting hundreds of keys with manic keyboard pounding, Snow notes in the threads attached to her post that she has disabled “Automatically configure network-connected devices” in her “Private Networks” settings in Windows. And, of course, she recommends not buying the same Hisense 50Q8G that she bought, or at least not having it on the same network.

The mystery is solved, but the culprit remains at large. Or culprits (plural) depending on how you think a Windows PC should react to a shape-shifting TV.

Ars has contacted Hisense for comment and will update the post if we receive a response.

News Source :
Gn tech

Back to top button